Question number two on my questions to open my eyes.
I actually set down to write this blog earlier and couldn't quite find the words today. It was out during my jog that I found the words.
To me, that question is a no brainer. Up until I thought about it, I thought it was a no brainer to everyone. How could anyone even compare the two? But then I thought about how many people there are out there who never even though about trying.
How may people have written stories or poems and thought "well that was fun, but i'm not really a writer" and put it away. Or the weekend football players who never ever considered trying out for fear of not making the cut. Or the community theatre actor who says, "I like acting" but never considered going big time because they might fall on their faces. Some people are happy to settle. Some people are just born that way. Some people want to never see their limitations that way they can continue believing that they don't have any.
There is a fantastic series of questions called 50 questions that will free your mind. Google it. Read it. Answer it.
It's about balance. health, and mostly...revelation. Because what is a bikini but a reveal? So in the midst of my crazy working out, I am going to also take a look at what makes me tick. Perhaps 50 days from now, when I've gotten a chance to get to know myself through these questions I'll also be able to reveal a bikini ready body.
That's a still shot from the web series "Pioneer One" where I played a Astro-Biologist named Richard C. Hadfield. I used to play a lot of sidekicks and scientists. It's kinda my thing. Anyway, judging from the pic here....if I had to guess my age...I'd say, about 34-35.
Now I'll do some analyzing here. Those crows feet are killing me! As well as my forehead...botox time! Yeah right! Once, at a photo shoot, I did have a make up artist once tell me that. "That's nothing a little botox wont cure" I'd love to say I am totally against the stuff...but my first response was "Do you have any in that magic bag of yours?"
I have an obsession with running out of time. Or looking that way.
It's one of the reasons I try to pack so much into my days. Exercise, Acting, Writing, Working, Practicing, Blogging, Running....there is so much to do. There are many things I want to do with my life. It's impossible to be everywhere. I know this.
The pressure's on if I already am looking mid 30s, because there are so many things I want to have done by then. I wanted to have finished School. I wanted to be a published playwright. I wanted to have kids. I wanted to get married. I wanted to have written a book. I wanted to have given a truly noteworthy performance. (with actual noteworthy notes) I wanted to have abs. I wanted to ride a Llama. I wanted to eat star fruit. I wanted to go to Europe. I wanted to learn my family tree. I wanted to learn to dance and sing. I wanted to run another marathon.I wanted to learn to let go. I wanted to...
My God, there are so many things I wanted to do by mid thirties. I'm so far behind.
So that's what I would be thinking if i didn't know my age. Looking at myself and knowing that I look older than I am (which stings a little) reminds me that I do still have time to hit some of those goals. So that's what these questions are for....
Gives me something to think about as I go exercise. I mean...just because my face looks mid thirties doesn't mean my torso has to.
See you tomorrow.
Watching Standby, on opening night, I spent much of my time watching the audience. I noticed an older gentleman sitting a few rows away who had started to cry as one of the characters (Jonathan- played by Matt Shingledecker) began to speak about his P.T.S.D. Others in the audience were crying too, but his tears were different and they continued to grow. A few moments later, as the story and songs progressed; his wife put her arm around him and held him as he shook. It was the most tender of moments- her knowing face as she saw him cry, her arm stretching around him, and him pushing against her for support.
Later when Jonathan’s girlfriend (Cynthia- played by Jenna Leigh Green) reached out to support him, I turned and, again, watched that couple. They were still in that embrace- smiling through tears, holding each other…supporting...mirroring the action on stage. It was one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen.
Standby has always been a ball of emotion for me, a bleeding heart. I cry every night and I’m not afraid to admit it... But it’s not about sadness, or even happiness. It is about reaching. It’s about feeling a connecting. It’s about feeling. It’s about feeling alive.
At the opening night party, that gentleman found me. He introduced himself. With teary eyes that never wavered from mine, and he told me his story.
“I was a Marine. Those stories. I have those. I still have the nightmares…” He shook my hand and didn’t let go for few moments. “Those actors did so well. You did so well. Thank you.”
We stayed there for a moment as I thanked him. I pulled him from his handshake and into a hug.
There is no higher praise than that. Reaching someone. Connecting.
After he walked away, I stood there for a moment. I had to take in that experience. I still am, to some extent.
Just thinking of him, I am humbled, honored, excited, and touched and above all… I feel.
I feel alive.
Written by Byrne Harrison for Stagebuzz. Answers by Mark and Carolyn
How did you first get involved in theatre?
Carolyn: Royal Crane and I began our career as stand-up comedians performing in the LA area. On a challenge and the promise of an all you can eat buffet, we began writing a play for three friends who had found it difficult to find parts that fit their unique personalities and extra-large bodies. Night Nurses was a critical success and quickly launched our writing career but ruined the three aforementioned friendships. Writers see things differently. Often mistaken as husband and wife, which creeps us out, we continue to work to write for all mediums but fewer larges. Holy Cows is our second collaboration.
Who are your biggest influences?
Mark: When it comes to musical theatre, Ahrens and Flaherty will always be my biggest influences. When I was in high school I happened to see the pre Broadway cast of Ragtime and a regional production of Once on this Island back to back. I was immediately drawn to the storytelling through music in each show. Up until then I felt musicals were just about doing a scene, singing a song about it, then doing another scene. In those two stories so much time and emotion was wrapped into each song. I was addicted When I realized that the same people wrote these two shows, I instantly went and found their other material. I’ve been hooked ever since. That’s about when I started writing plays and poetry, which led me into musical theatre.
It all began with my reading a playbill ad looking for a book writer/lyricist…a gathering of my work and submitting. Then…
My names is Amy Baer and I am working with Keith Robinson on the musical 'Standby'. We received your application a few weeks ago for a book writing position via Playbill, and we enjoyed reading your work. Thank you for submitting your materials.
If you are still available and interested in the collaboration, would you be available for a brief phone call or Skype over the weekend or next week? We would love to tell you a bit more about our musical, as well as hear more about your work as well.”
…And with that begins one of the wildest rides I have ever been part of.
Boom- a phone meeting where we discussed my work and their vision, an assignment to read their script and come up with some ideas. Then boom, a meeting was scheduled at Starbucks in Union Square.
I sat down with the script and their cd. Their script, written with book writer/lyricist Alfred Solis, was so full of heart and love. It was such a wonderful story, and a unique premise that I was immediately drawn to it. After one week of listening to their music and reading their script, working on the audition assignment they have given me, I did something I try to never do with a job…
…I fell in love with it.
I loved the characters. I loved the idea. I loved the project. And I wanted it.
We're only six months apart, yet she's always had years of maturity on me.
But let's go back....My cousin Valerie and I used to play in the back of my Dad's work truck. On the quiet cul-de-sac of the street, in my aunt and uncle's yard, we would climb up the tires of my dad's truck and into the back and climb all over the sheet metal, tools, work equipment and other "dangerous" things (kids dont get to play outside anymore, do they?) and imagine all sorts of adventures until it got dark and Auntie Irene called us back in for dinner.
For dinner, Valerie would ask for Chicken McNuggets. Her mom would say no...then they would push me in..
'Auntie Irene, can we have chicken nuggets?" I would ask.
Happy meal time!
We laugh at that a lot.
Countless Friday nights, I would sleep over and we would play video games all night longs, then get up and watch saturday morning cartoons. She once tricked me into watching Pee Wee's Playhouse every saturday by telling me that there was an episode where they played with He Man figures. There were times I even watched it home on my own, hoping for that episode.
by Byrne Harrison- Written for Stagebuzz
Mark-Eugene Garcia is the author of several plays and musicals. He is happy to be represented twice in the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity. He can also be seen as "Javier" in Duncan
Pflaster’s The Taint of Equality. His written theatrical work includes Facing East, One Night at the Golden Boot,(un)missed connections,Inscriptions, and The Holy Cows of Credence South Dakota. Next up is Standby: as part of the New York Fringe Festival.
How did you first get involved in theatre?
My first foray into the theatre was playing my dream role of “The Baker” in Into the Woods. But when it comes to writing, the musicals Ragtime and Once on this Island primarily inspired me. I’ve spent the majority of my theatrical writing devoted to writing musicals. So much of my playwriting is influenced by music.
Who are your biggest influences?
Aside from musicals, I’m influenced by many gay writers. Armistead Maupin, Marc Acito, William Mann. Each of these writers has something in common, other than the characters being gay. They all write wordy, opinionated characters that have something to say and the nerve to say it.
Originally written for "The Happiest Medium"
Karen Tortora-Lee’s Question
How did you come up with the title for your show?
Mark-Eugene: We actually had quite a few titles. The play is based on missed connections from Craigslist, so I originally gave it that title of Missed Connections. But the play really about isn’t missing the connection as opposed to finding them. After speaking with Rodrigo, our director, we came up with (un)missed connections.
I'm going to tell you all a secret. It's the secret about how I write...Before I start working on a story I usually say two words in my head and they are...wait....this takes a little buildup, so here goes....
...Sitting in my countrified office filled with Longaberger baskets, hand carved wooden stars, and wooden signs with sayings such as "Love when you can, Cry when you have to, Be who you must, that's a part of the plan," I am reminded of how much of my mother's son I am. It goes beyond how I decorate my office, or my addiction to running (of which I always attribute to her.) But deeper than that. I have her in everything that I do.
After reading "Little Corner" and listening to "Holy Cows" as well as most of my other projects, people have often asked..
Originally written for - The Greener Room
Looking back, I think that if I had understood what “gay” meant, I would have known I was gay in fifth grade. It makes absolute sense now. You see, like most school boys, I had a really, really, good friend. And like good friends, we had sleepovers.
Wait. Uh oh! You think you know where this is going, right? Well, I assure you, you
My story has nothing to do with the sleepovers themselves. They were typical Ninja Turtle, Super Mario, Camp out in the back yard, Freeze Tag, Pool Party, Hide N Seek sleepovers. My story has to do with after the sleepovers. Because once my good friend (who has never been and is not gay) left…I cried like a baby.
I was so lonely.
I was so sad.
1. The notes played by the ocarina in the opening segment of Zelda: Ocarina of Time on Nintendo 64 give me a soothing sensation on stressful days.
2. When I leave the house in the morning I listen to the beginning of the soundtrack to CONGO and pretend I’m going on an adventure, even though I live in Woodside NY.
3. I don’t and have never completely or habitually read the Bible. But when I have nightmares or worries, I am known to hug it like a teddy bear when I sleep.
4. I have my fathers first name (Mark) and my grandfather’s middle name. (Eugene)
5. I wrote a 350 page book in high school, and had a group of readers who read it over two years as I released each chapter monthly.
6. I ran the San Diego Marathon, twice
“I like the feel like having shared pages and the reminder that I have spent a lot of time with this verbal friend”
In my living room, in the corner, stands a bookshelf filled with all of my books that I consider “workbooks.” Along the top shelf are my scripts, along the bottom shelf are many vocal selections and scores. Near the middle though, sits a series of worn and torn books on the history of theatre, many series of classic plays that will not be mixed with the other scripts, and a used copy of the play “love letters”
The interesting connection with that particular play is that one, it is one of my favorites, and two, each of these books is a love letter from one lover of theatre to another. As I pick them up from the shelf, I am thinking of the wonderful woman who handed them down to me.
Throughout my life, I have had many mentors in writing, in music, in drama, in life. From the amazing support of parents, and teachers, to friends and extended family, support has never been in short supply. I know some amazing people.
Writer/Actor/Storyteller. Theatre Maker. Husband. Bad Hombre. Cat Taunter.
Eight Tales of Pedro at the Secret Theatre
Giving Myself Permission to Write
Meet the Cast of The Underpants Godot: Secret Theatre Interview
When it Happens: My Journey Through Anxiety
Standby at the Towle Theatre
Facing East- Bringing my Dad into the Story
Gems by Jack
Standby Table Read
Write Naked/ Write Now- GoNaked Mag Article
Epic Fail at the New York Musical Theatre Festival
Feeling Blissful for Bliss By Hannah Leshaw
Arc of Triumph: Mark-Eugene Garcia’s Poetry Inspired His Plays & Musicals
Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?
If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?
What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?
When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?
If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?
How Old Would You Be If You Didn't Know How Old You Were?
The Holy Cows of Credence South Dakota: Stagebuzz Interview
This Is My Jenny Commercial
A Cousin is Your First Best Friend
(Un)Missed Connections interview
5 Things to Know about (Un)Missed Connections
Writing My Mother.
Sleepovers and Soulmates
25 Facts About Me
Disney's Flashback 2006- Hyperion Theatre
Up In The Air: Colony Theatre Burbank
Stephen Sondheim's 75th- Hollywood Bowl
Disney's Flashback 2005- Hyperion Theatre
Up in the Air: ANMT Reading
The Journey: A Mini Musical
If Men Played Cards As Women Do - Citrus College
Oklahoma! - Covina Playhouse
The Rainmaker- Citrus College
Fiddler On the Roof- Covina Playhouse
City of Angels- Covina Playhouse
The Mousetrap- Citrus College
Festival of Short Plays- Citrus College
Channel Surfing: Where so much began